Pocket money allowance for college student

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TheMoneyRat
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Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by TheMoneyRat » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:36 pm

Our oldest child started her freshman year at college yesterday. We have told each of our kids that we will pay up to 100% of the costs of a private college. The oldest is going to a relatively expensive private school in northern California, but we approved the choice because it is Jesuit, has a good network in Silicon Valley (her major is computer science with math focus) and a rising reputation. So she is basically setting the bar for what each of the others will get (and if they choose to attend our state school or get scholarships, the difference will be available to them for post-grad studies).

I have told her that I do not want her to get a part-time job her freshman year so she can focus on her studies. We are going to give her monthly pocket money for spending on items outside formal educational costs (which would include tuition, fees, books, room & board, and travel home). I was thinking $200 a month. She already has about $2000 saved up in her checking account from HS graduation gifts and her summer job.

Just trying to get a sense of what other people provide in similar situations. (I myself was a scholarship college student from a poor family, and got a job the first week I got to campus -- so I understand that perspective already.)

Thanks,
TMR

PFInterest
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by PFInterest » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:46 pm

you could see how much she spends roughly and just reimburse her CC charges. if it starts getting excessive then you can set a limit.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:27 pm

I don't recall given either of my kid's spending money in college. But I did give them a nice graduation gift. One had nearly $10k from gifts money that I saved over the years. She did get a part time job in sophomore year. The other had nearly $5-$7k gifts money. She did apply for a job on campus, it was her first job ever, she and her roommate were very excited about the job. But after one week of cleaning pots of pans in the cafeteria, they both quit in disgust. It was a good lesson learned for both. But she did apply and got a CS tutoring job her sophomore year and that was her spending money. I also paid for everything for both kids. Did it hurt their grades, no. Both kept very high grades until senior year. They both joined a sorority and there were dues to pay. All came out of their pockets. I contributed nothing to social functions.
But if I were you, I would give your daughter some spending money because she has a lower savings balance compared to mine and it's costly in Silicon Valley.

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celia
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by celia » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:39 pm

One of my kids was already applying his summer earnings to his tuition so I gave him use of a credit card since he had to book airfare to and from college for travel. Since there were no direct flights between home and school, I also wanted him to be able to book a hotel room if weather grounded some of the flights. In addition, he was allowed to spend $100 per month on my card as long as it was used off-campus (since the college was very academically-oriented and I wanted him and his new friends to have a break sometimes). [When we were touring colleges, we met students at MIT who didn't know anything about Cambridge or Boston since they never went off-campus. That is not mentally healthy, IMO.]

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:47 pm

I don't disagree with your views about a job during first year. Getting her feet under her, socially and otherwise, is enough. DS found that TA jobs in subsequent years were an easy way to network with other CS students, study and do psets while getting paid, and establish relationships with graduate students and professors. And, the money (iirc, $20/hr) wasn't bad, even if he'd had to work all billed hours (which he didn't, as few students made use of office hours).

Congratulations and I hope she enjoys her journey!

wstrdg
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by wstrdg » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:48 pm

We didn't give our kids pocket money during college. Like you, we paid for tuition, room/board, books, travel home. They had some savings when college began and used that for pocket money. None had a car so no need for gas money. All had bikes.

We did put authorize the kids on one of our credit cards. They used that for books and required class expenses -- it helped to have a shared credit card to monitor 529 plan qualified expenses.

IMO graduating almost broke is a great incentivizer. We did help with housing expenses straight out of college, and with cars as they were needed (needed, not wanted).

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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:50 pm

Give them your credit card. Monitor the charges (and let them know that you're monitoring the charges and what's appropriate and what's not). It's always good if there's bonus money attached (my son has a 2% card from Fidelity so it has bonus money going into his 529). We've never set any limit. Just buy what's needed and don't buy stupid things.

Jobs take away from study time. Sorry, but you're paying good money for them to learn. You don't need them to ditch a class because someone called in and the boss calls your kid in. Nope.
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sixty40
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by sixty40 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:51 pm

My oldest is in his final year at UC Santa Cruz and my middle child will be starting college next year (at least that is the plan). Luckily we have saved up enough to pay for our kids education.

For my oldest we paid/pay for all his college related expenses such as tuition, room and board, books, etc. We have not given him any money for his "personal" use when in college such as going out with friends, movies, eating out, etc. He gets some money from his grandparents and uses that for spending money and/or saves it. I told him to get a job if he wants money for personal expenses, which he did. Even when he comes home, his personal expenses are on him. He is a saver and rarely spends money frivolously, and he have never really asked me for money for personal expenses. When he wants to come home, he takes the train and we pay for that. Basically all personal expenses that does not involve the family are on him.

It seems to have worked out OK, but my next child may be different, we'll see ...

livesoft
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by livesoft » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:52 pm

Our son in college gets $350 a month for all his food and pocket money. He has lived off-campus since sophomore year. If he wants more, then he needs a job.

I had a job in college. My spouse had a job in college. And my oldest had a job in college. A job teaches one quite a lot about the world and is a break from school work, so it helps with one's sanity. I'll say that young adults need to learn how to budget their time and resources. I don't think a job takes away from study time. It might take away from partying time, but probably doesn't even do that.
Last edited by livesoft on Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MikeG62
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by MikeG62 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:54 pm

TheMoneyRat wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:36 pm
...Just trying to get a sense of what other people provide in similar situations. (I myself was a scholarship college student from a poor family, and got a job the first week I got to campus -- so I understand that perspective already.)

Thanks,
TMR
OP, one child out of college and my second is in her last year of college so I have experience here.

DW and I did not give either an allowance per se. What we did do was give each a debit card (Ally bank) and a credit card. The debit card was to be used at ATM's for cash needs. The CC was for all other spending. I monitored the spend/withdrawals through alerts to my phone (in addition to obviously reviewing monthly statements) and would periodically ask what the money was being used for (or the nature of the CC spend). Neither of my daughters took advantage of the situation.

Our objective in doing what we did was to take money "off the table" as any issue or constraint. We wanted them totally focused on school. The last thing we would have wanted was for either to get a part time job during the semester to pay for things that might exceed any allowance we would provide.

We also paid for 100% of their school costs (tuition, room and board and books and supplies) in case that is relevant.

This works well for us.

RudyS
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by RudyS » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:59 pm

I think this would depend on the family finances, and how financially (and otherwise) the student has been throughout high school. Previous replies all sound appropriate. I went to a college with free tuition, lived at home, and had summer jobs. No additional money given, or expected, from my parents. That was appropriate for us. Had I needed something more, I am sure it would have materialized. Once I went to graduate school, there were assistantships.

sixty40
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by sixty40 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:12 pm

I think a part time job, maybe after the freshman year, is a good thing and I do not think it takes away from studies. As I recall, there is a lot of free (non-study) time in college, but I did not go to a highly prestigious university that may have required more work. I studied engineering at a state college. Classes only take up a few hours each day, and it is really hard to constantly study. I worked part time throughout college, mainly because my family could not afford college for us, and finished in time. We had time to go out with friends and to parties, work did not prevent me from doing those things. I think a part time job helps one manage time better, but of course the job has to have flexible hours. Yes there were many times I would have rather done nothing or even studied than to go to work, but that is real life.

Everyone has their own opinion, but I think a part time job in college is a good thing and I will encourage or require our other kids to also do it.

TheMoneyRat
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by TheMoneyRat » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:19 pm

Really appreciate everyone's thoughts. Yes, I agree having a job during college is a good thing, teaches you time management, and enriches the overall experience. (During my college years, I worked as with campus catering, became a manager by sophomore year, hired all my friends (and some cute girls) for the summer, and enjoyed the free summer housing and discounted kegs at my employer's local liquor supplier.)

I had a credit card issued in her name, which she will use for specified items (travel, etc.) and emergencies. Pocket spending comes out of her ATM card.

TMR

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gasdoc
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by gasdoc » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:32 pm

We give our freshman college student daughter $500 per month.

gasdoc

dbr
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by dbr » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:42 pm

Maybe it would help to be more explicit about what this money might be needed for. I imagine students need to occasionally buy clothing, odds and ends for the dorm room, going out for a burger, pizza, and beer from time to time (Does your allowance intend to finance keggers six weekends a year?), bus/train fare to travel somewhere or gas money for someone's car, etc. From there you could put a simple limit on how much you might expect to allow on a debit/ATM card. Or maybe the plan is to finance consumption of fifths of single malt every weekend while playing in high stakes poker games -- and this without even leaving the dorm.

Our kids had enough money saved from work of various kinds in the summer or before they went to college that I don't remember giving them anything as an allowance. Probably we helped them buy things like clothes, skis, a laptop or the like when they were home.

Note allowance for off-campus housing and associated food and supplies is not pocket money.
Last edited by dbr on Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

livesoft
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by livesoft » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:44 pm

We did not make our kids pay for birth control and health care from their $350 a month, but they had to pay for all their food, toilet paper, clothing, drinks, video gaming, concerts, weekend trips, dates, etc. They didn't get cars as undergraduates.
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gasdoc
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by gasdoc » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:45 pm

dbr wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:42 pm
Maybe it would help to be more explicit about what this money might be needed for. I imagine students need to occasionally buy clothing, odds and ends for the dorm room, going out for a burger, pizza, and beer from time to time (Does your allowance intend to finance keggers six weekends a year?), bus/train fare to travel somewhere or gas money for someone's car, etc. From there you could put a simple limit on how much you might expect to allow on a debit/ATM card. Or maybe the plan is to finance consumption of fifths of single malt every weekend while playing in high stakes poker games -- and this without even leaving the dorm.
Our daughter's $500 per month covers anything non-essential for school. It covers gas or other transportation costs, clothing, entertainment, etc. It is not used for mandatory maintenance on the car or med/dent appointments.

gasdoc

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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by a2_alice » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:51 pm

My parents matched the money I made in my summer jobs up to $1500. I received this money in a lump sum when I went to college, and it was meant to last for 9 months of spending money (September-May). For parent-approved other expenses (books, groceries, flights home, emergencies, etc.) my parents made me an authorized user on a credit card with a $1000 limit.

It worked very well. I am not going to say that I didn't have time to work during the school year because after all, I had time to spend the money. But I've always been a person who needed down time to recharge mentally, and I probably would have not done as well in my typical full load of science courses if I'd been working. I also might not have sought out extra academic challenges (e.g. honors courses, double major). I'm not saying it's impossible to do those things while holding down a job, but it might have been for me.

Edited to add: I was in a major city with high cost of living. If I'd been in a lower cost of living area, like where I went to grad school, the money from summer jobs would have been enough.
Last edited by a2_alice on Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jucor
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by jucor » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:51 pm

gasdoc wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:32 pm
We give our freshman college student daughter $500 per month.

gasdoc
Out of interest, are you monitoring what she is doing with that money? If she lives on campus with a meal plan, no car, that's a lot of $$ in discretionary spending, IMHO. Not saying it is wrong in your case, but wonder what the reasoning is.

123
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by 123 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:56 pm

Pocket money for college students is going to vary tremendously based on the student's situation. Our student does not drive and the large campus is fairly isolated from the town (bus pass included in university fees). She lives in the dorm and spends virtually all her time on campus. Her out-of-pocket personal incidental expenses are around $100 a month (we pay cell, books, buy clothing when she's home, etc). She may go to town for a movie, pizza out once in awhile with friends, etc.
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gasdoc
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by gasdoc » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:18 pm

jucor wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:51 pm
gasdoc wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:32 pm
We give our freshman college student daughter $500 per month.

gasdoc
Out of interest, are you monitoring what she is doing with that money? If she lives on campus with a meal plan, no car, that's a lot of $$ in discretionary spending, IMHO. Not saying it is wrong in your case, but wonder what the reasoning is.
She lives in the dorm, but has a car. She pays for her own gas. I do not closely monitor what she spends her money on, but it includes movies, meals while studying with others at a local Panera, etc. She buys misc items from Walmart and misc grocery items to keep in her room. She buys her own clothing, etc. She also saves money aggressively to be able to travel some to see high school friends during her school breaks. We wanted to make the amount enough that she would not feel the necessity to work during the school year as she has a fairly full schedule, and she can take some down time during her breaks.

gasdoc

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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by goodenyou » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:33 pm

$400/month. He lives in an apartment and it is for food/gas and incidentals. He also works as a life guard at the campus' natatorium. He makes $13/hr guarding Olympic gold medal swimmers, if you can believe it. He wasn't even a swimmer in high school. I am fortunate that he is one of those kids that I don't worry about wasting or squandering money. He also has a car, and we pay to maintain it. I thought diapers and formula were expensive :oops:
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jucor
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by jucor » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:34 pm

gasdoc wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:18 pm
jucor wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:51 pm
gasdoc wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:32 pm
We give our freshman college student daughter $500 per month.

gasdoc
Out of interest, are you monitoring what she is doing with that money? If she lives on campus with a meal plan, no car, that's a lot of $$ in discretionary spending, IMHO. Not saying it is wrong in your case, but wonder what the reasoning is.
She lives in the dorm, but has a car. She pays for her own gas. I do not closely monitor what she spends her money on, but it includes movies, meals while studying with others at a local Panera, etc. She buys misc items from Walmart and misc grocery items to keep in her room. She buys her own clothing, etc. She also saves money aggressively to be able to travel some to see high school friends during her school breaks. We wanted to make the amount enough that she would not feel the necessity to work during the school year as she has a fairly full schedule, and she can take some down time during her breaks.

gasdoc
I teach at a large university, and observe that some students, esp. freshman, can be unduly enticed by the freedom of college, and that those with access to lots (from the average college student's perspective) of $$ as well as wheels face the additional risk of becoming the popular party provider. This rarely has a positive impact on their academic performance.

I've also seen this in my extended family -- a nephew who crashed and burned in his first year (not at my U, thankfully!) -- and he was an exemplary high school student and a "good kid" on a large academic merit scholarship. His parents did not monitor him much and gave him lots of resources, and did not find out until after the end of the first semester that he was on the edge of calamity.

Of course those I see and my nephew are not your daughter, but perhaps might serve as a cautionary tale. Putting money in a "break trip" fund and buying her clothes directly or when she's home for visits (can't put that much in a dorm room anyway) might not be a bad way to limit the possible downside of "too much" ready cash.

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gasdoc
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by gasdoc » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:01 pm

jucor wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:34 pm
gasdoc wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:18 pm
jucor wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:51 pm
gasdoc wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:32 pm
We give our freshman college student daughter $500 per month.

gasdoc
Out of interest, are you monitoring what she is doing with that money? If she lives on campus with a meal plan, no car, that's a lot of $$ in discretionary spending, IMHO. Not saying it is wrong in your case, but wonder what the reasoning is.
She lives in the dorm, but has a car. She pays for her own gas. I do not closely monitor what she spends her money on, but it includes movies, meals while studying with others at a local Panera, etc. She buys misc items from Walmart and misc grocery items to keep in her room. She buys her own clothing, etc. She also saves money aggressively to be able to travel some to see high school friends during her school breaks. We wanted to make the amount enough that she would not feel the necessity to work during the school year as she has a fairly full schedule, and she can take some down time during her breaks.

gasdoc
I teach at a large university, and observe that some students, esp. freshman, can be unduly enticed by the freedom of college, and that those with access to lots (from the average college student's perspective) of $$ as well as wheels face the additional risk of becoming the popular party provider. This rarely has a positive impact on their academic performance.

I've also seen this in my extended family -- a nephew who crashed and burned in his first year (not at my U, thankfully!) -- and he was an exemplary high school student and a "good kid" on a large academic merit scholarship. His parents did not monitor him much and gave him lots of resources, and did not find out until after the end of the first semester that he was on the edge of calamity.

Of course those I see and my nephew are not your daughter, but perhaps might serve as a cautionary tale. Putting money in a "break trip" fund and buying her clothes directly or when she's home for visits (can't put that much in a dorm room anyway) might not be a bad way to limit the possible downside of "too much" ready cash.

Thanks. I will consider that. I really don't have much concern at this point though. DD tends to stay away from the partying and drinking crowd, but is 'bound and determined' to have money to travel when she finds the time. And we did not just start this pattern with her. She has had a larger than most allowance for several years (with more responsibility than average to go with it) and has had ample opportunities in the past to take advantage of her freedoms and responsibilities, and has shown reasonably good intentions and savings habits. I would like to continue to nurture this responsibility with money until she gives me reason to doubt her ability to manage her finances. She has had a checking account and multiple savings accounts over the past two years, and recently started a Roth IRA from her summer earnings. Again, I'll be watching but I am encouraged and don't necessarily want to go back to managing all of her spending for her.

gasdoc

PS Until recently, she had a Capital One account "Money" checking account, one that the parent sees every transaction on. After two years of that, I encouraged her to set up her own "adult" account. We have a pretty good relationship whereby she asks for advice on financial matters fairly regularly.

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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by DaftInvestor » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:11 pm

We give our daughter $250 per month for spending so $200 seems fine to. Similar situation to yours (she is on a meal plan so this money isn't for base food) - she lives in a city so just going out to lunch with friends might be $20. She spends the money on a combo of going out with friends, items for her dorm room, and other entertainment.
We move the money monthly into her account and she manages it from there.

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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by lhl12 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:17 pm

Our son is a sophomore. For his freshman year we gave him $500/month. I wanted to give him $200/month but my wife thought that was too little and suggested $500/month instead. I strenuously objected and stuck with my guns at $200. You can see where we ended up.

His bank account is a joint account with me (as is his credit card) so I can see every transaction on both accounts.

As it turns out, he has actually spent only about $100-200 most months, and has gradually saved up money in his checking account. Towards the end of his freshman year, when he reached $1000, he asked me to transfer the money into his Fidelity account (which I had helped him set up a few years ago) and to buy more of the S&P 500 Index Fund, which I did, with mixed feelings.

At the end of his freshman year I told my wife that we should cut his allowance to $200/month since he clearly didn't need the money. She said we should be happy that he was being thrifty and smart with his money and that if we cut his allowance we would be disincenting his good behavior. For his sophomore year, he is again getting $500/month.

I can't decide whether to be upset or happy...

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Pajamas
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by Pajamas » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:25 pm

lhl12 wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:17 pm
I can't decide whether to be upset or happy...
Like father, like son. :oops:

TheMoneyRat
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by TheMoneyRat » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:29 pm

lhl12 wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:17 pm
Our son is a sophomore. For his freshman year we gave him $500/month. I wanted to give him $200/month but my wife thought that was too little and suggested $500/month instead. I strenuously objected and stuck with my guns at $200. You can see where we ended up.

His bank account is a joint account with me (as is his credit card) so I can see every transaction on both accounts.

As it turns out, he has actually spent only about $100-200 most months, and has gradually saved up money in his checking account. Towards the end of his freshman year, when he reached $1000, he asked me to transfer the money into his Fidelity account (which I had helped him set up a few years ago) and to buy more of the S&P 500 Index Fund, which I did, with mixed feelings.

At the end of his freshman year I told my wife that we should cut his allowance to $200/month since he clearly didn't need the money. She said we should be happy that he was being thrifty and smart with his money and that if we cut his allowance we would be disincenting his good behavior. For his sophomore year, he is again getting $500/month.

I can't decide whether to be upset or happy...
Sounds like they are in cahoots!

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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by marekc » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:32 pm

We provide our daughter with $110 per month. Rise from $100/month during her freshman year.

lhl12
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by lhl12 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:34 pm

TheMoneyRat wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:29 pm
lhl12 wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:17 pm
Our son is a sophomore. For his freshman year we gave him $500/month. I wanted to give him $200/month but my wife thought that was too little and suggested $500/month instead. I strenuously objected and stuck with my guns at $200. You can see where we ended up.

His bank account is a joint account with me (as is his credit card) so I can see every transaction on both accounts.

As it turns out, he has actually spent only about $100-200 most months, and has gradually saved up money in his checking account. Towards the end of his freshman year, when he reached $1000, he asked me to transfer the money into his Fidelity account (which I had helped him set up a few years ago) and to buy more of the S&P 500 Index Fund, which I did, with mixed feelings.

At the end of his freshman year I told my wife that we should cut his allowance to $200/month since he clearly didn't need the money. She said we should be happy that he was being thrifty and smart with his money and that if we cut his allowance we would be disincenting his good behavior. For his sophomore year, he is again getting $500/month.

I can't decide whether to be upset or happy...
Sounds like they are in cahoots!
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by daveydoo » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:37 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:44 pm
We did not make our kids pay for birth control and health care from their $350 a month, but they had to pay for all their food, toilet paper, clothing, drinks, video gaming, concerts, weekend trips, dates, etc. They didn't get cars as undergraduates.
+1. Spouse (I had to check) says we're about $200/month discretionary per kid x 2 kids in college but does not include groceries. No cars. Drop in the bucket compared to tuition and housing. They each have a cushion of about $3K of their own money that they have the option of dipping into but seem very reluctant to. They have bank accounts linked to our own so we can transfer money via Chase phone ap. We will supplement for the occasional big thing (airfare for study abroad, etc.). And we've spent some $ to help set up their initial dorm room or apartment (at least $500 -- if you've done the Bed, Bath & Beyond pilgrimage, you know what I'm talking about). DD has generally worked; DS may or may not, depending upon major and other commitments. They each go to schools where there are a lot of kids with a lot of money and, a little unexpectedly, they recoil against some of that conspicuous consumption (DD: "Every kid has a Canada Goose -- that's like $1,000!").
Last edited by daveydoo on Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mike Scott
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by Mike Scott » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:08 pm

Research says that college students working part time do better academically (presumably because it helps structure their time). Working 20+ hours a week begins to interfere. On the other hand, our average undergraduate student age was about 27 the last time I checked. Many of them have full time jobs and families and still take full loads of courses. It's pretty stressful for them. I have reminded my own young single college kids to appreciate the flexibility they have in just working part time while going to college on scholarship money.

teen persuasion
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by teen persuasion » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:51 pm

We haven't given the kids allowances during college. They've all had work study options on their financial aid, but each school has handled that in different ways - some assign you a job, others leave the job search entirely up to the students. They are limited to a max of 10 hours per week in semester. Some jobs they've participated in have been of the type where they complement your studies: note-taking for students with special needs (you just make copies of your notes from class), laser lab tech, workshop monitor (safety supervise other students while working on your own projects), math tutor (free to study when not busy). Some jobs extended into full-time summer break jobs: library work, orientation leader (included free housing and food), software design/implementation for a campus department. Some led to off campus side gigs: designing furniture for a start-up (or at least website work), private tutoring, etc.

JGoneRiding
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by JGoneRiding » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:30 pm

gasdoc wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:32 pm
We give our freshman college student daughter $500 per month.

gasdoc
crap now I wish my dad was a doc :D I have letters after my name and don't get 500/mos in general spending money. I bet your daughter is popular

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Watty
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by Watty » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:54 pm

We were able to pay for my son to go a state university. We put the rule in that he could not work during the school year for his freshman year and after that any job had to be related to his major. We figured that compared to working at some some fast food restaurant for minimum wage that having the extra time to study or take more hours was more cost effective.

He was in computer science and he was able to get a part time job in the campus computer center which gave him great experience that really helped him get his first job after college.

He had money from summer jobs and eventually his part time job so we did not give him any spending money, but for things like holidays and birthdays we gave him modest amounts of cash instead of presents.

RetiredAL
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by RetiredAL » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:29 pm

MoneyRat:

Before my daughter went off to college a 1000 miles away 18 years ago, I got a her a joint CC at our bank with a few thousand limit, along with a checking account, which I made sure got paid while monitoring the expenses.

A CC and Checking starts her credit/financial history, but most important, if she's 18 (very likely), she can get her own CC from some rip-off place that you are not in on, so you don't see what her balance is, thus she can get into trouble before you have any inkling that there a problem. Plus its a convenient way for her to pay for school supplies/items you and her have not thought of till the need arises or travel during holidays. Have her log all charges into personal and school related buckets. That will teach her basic budgeting and tracking of the money flow. Make sure she understands a CC is there as a payment medium, not as a long term credit extension.

Note that all the local Transportation Agencies, VTA, AC Transit, SF Muni), Bart and Caltrain are not very cash friendly. They expect you to use their pre-paid card that is bought and re-charged via a CC or ATM.

Lastly for her having a CC, you don't want her stuck someplace without money to get home. If she happens to be with so-called friends and thus her ride say while in SF, and they start doing something she does not to be a part of, then she can always leave them and get home on her own.

As for the amount to allocate, don't be too stingy. As someone said, its a drop in the bucket compared to the other costs. This is a special time in her life.

My daughter was self frugal, as she had already used 2 summers of earnings for a down-payment on a truck and understood the loan and CC payment were coming out of the checking account and monies needed to be in place before the payments. There was a substantial UTGMA account from her Grandparents which became hers at 18 to which I was an authorized signer/manager. She did not work her first school year, but did so that next summer while again here at home and thereafter during the year. She did neat things while in school including a semester is New Zealand, but budgeted for them pretty well. Today, she is financially very astute and secure. Her 2 yr old son already has a UTGMA account for when his time comes.

You also have a new family title: The Bank of Dad

runner540
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by runner540 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:21 am

JGoneRiding wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:30 pm
gasdoc wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:32 pm
We give our freshman college student daughter $500 per month.

gasdoc
crap now I wish my dad was a doc :D I have letters after my name and don't get 500/mos in general spending money. I bet your daughter is popular
+1
Glad you feel she's responsible with it. To the OP, think about what lifestyle/social company you want your kid getting accustomed to. To my mind it's unhelpful if it's enough that they don't have to say "no" to themselves or others much. Are you subsidizing a lifestyle that the kid can't sustain on their own earnings after school?

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William4u
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by William4u » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:16 am

Gave son joint CC, which could be used for approved purchases. He lived in the dorms and had a 21-meal dining hall pass (which automatically came with the dorm fee), so CC was only for incidentals. He was on campus 90% of the time. He spent $100-200 a month on it. He also had plenty of money from full-time summer jobs (which he almost never spent). He was required to work full-time during summers starting in high school. He was not allowed to have any job during the regular school year. His job was to be a good student (we didn't want a random boss' interests competing with his studies), and be involved in outside activities that he was passionate about and/or helped career development. Luckily it worked out well.

soccerrules
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by soccerrules » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:14 am

We paid for Tuition, Room and Board. For the most part the extra curricular stuff they use money they had saved from summer jobs or christmas/birthday money.
Oldest did not work during college and middle is not working or planning to work this soph year.
Like another poster mentioned -- poor college student is not all bad.
Don't let your outflow exceed your income or your upkeep will be your downfall.

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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by MikeWillRetire » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:25 am

I have two in college right now. I pay for the tuition and room&board. They cover all of their other expenses by working in the summer. They don't have many expenses anyway.

macman_65
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by macman_65 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:27 am

I put my daughter as an authorized user on my credit card for her first 3 years - which I monitored. She goes to school without a meal plan but has a dorm with a full kitchen so she had to buy groceries.

Prior to her senior year (current) - she got a credit card under her own name so she can learn the responsibility of paying bills. I transfer $500 to her checking account monthly. This is to cover all her groceries and other misc expenses. Anything left she will use for her wedding in May.

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czeckers
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by czeckers » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:31 am

I think having a job in college and no allowance is a great idea. People who have to work their studies in around work or athletics tend to be more focused and do better. Having to work for your spending money provides valuable life lessons.

I believe in the Millionaire Next Door book, what you are contemplating is referred to as Economic Outpatient Care and was judged to be detrimental to the child.

In college, I had a premed major, was on an athletic team, worked two jobs, got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do and still managed to graduate at the top of my class. Maybe I didn't have time to get drunk as often as some of my peers, but I don't see that as a downside.
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zuzimb
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by zuzimb » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:08 am

When I was in college I got $200/month in money to do whatever I wanted with, per my mom's wish. She wins all ties as well.

My parents and I were always open about how much money was available for college, so I knew I had $X which ended up being half the cost of the school I attended. Caveats being I had to pay the first semester in full solo to get some skin in the game and I had to be "productive" in the summer, which ended up meaning school/internships/part time job.

In the end when I did spend the money it was on meals out or snacks for the dorm room along with occasional entertainment. The vast majority was saved to help buy a car and help cover the rest of the cost of college. With the occasional Roth IRA contribution 8-)

I know plenty of other people that had different priorities and the all pocket money was used for booze/drugs/partying.

Edit to add: I was also an authorized user on my parents CC for emergencies. If I used the card the money always came right out of my joint account that I had with my parents

marcopolo
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by marcopolo » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:53 am

TheMoneyRat wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:36 pm
Our oldest child started her freshman year at college yesterday. We have told each of our kids that we will pay up to 100% of the costs of a private college. The oldest is going to a relatively expensive private school in northern California, but we approved the choice because it is Jesuit, has a good network in Silicon Valley (her major is computer science with math focus) and a rising reputation. So she is basically setting the bar for what each of the others will get (and if they choose to attend our state school or get scholarships, the difference will be available to them for post-grad studies).

I have told her that I do not want her to get a part-time job her freshman year so she can focus on her studies. We are going to give her monthly pocket money for spending on items outside formal educational costs (which would include tuition, fees, books, room & board, and travel home). I was thinking $200 a month. She already has about $2000 saved up in her checking account from HS graduation gifts and her summer job.

Just trying to get a sense of what other people provide in similar situations. (I myself was a scholarship college student from a poor family, and got a job the first week I got to campus -- so I understand that perspective already.)

Thanks,
TMR
Similar situation with a sophomore. We pay all college expense (mostly out of 529 plan). We got him a credit card to start building credit history (and 2% back on all purchases!). We auto transfer $200/mo into his Fidelity Cash management account.
He handles paying his own credit card bills out of that account. I have noticed he does not spend most of it, and periodically transfers some of the excess to his brokerage account and invests it in low cost ETFs. So, I am pretty happy with how it is working out.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

bigred77
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by bigred77 » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:11 pm

I'm about 10 years out of undergrad but my experience back then was:

If I had 20 bucks in my pocket, it was gone by the next Monday.
If I had 200 bucks in my pocket, it was gone by the next Monday.

I don't think I was alone among the 18-22 year old population. :D

Rupert
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by Rupert » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:59 pm

In college, I found that working about 10 hours a week in the work/study program was helpful. It filled empty afternoon hours that I likely would have wasted watching tv but didn't detract too much from studying. Because I worked for the university, I also made some contacts within the university administration that I otherwise wouldn't have made, which helped out later in the form of letters of recommendation, etc. The little bit of extra spending money was nice too.

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gasdoc
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by gasdoc » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:35 pm

JGoneRiding wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:30 pm
gasdoc wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:32 pm
We give our freshman college student daughter $500 per month.

gasdoc
crap now I wish my dad was a doc :D I have letters after my name and don't get 500/mos in general spending money. I bet your daughter is popular
Actually, during her senior year in high school we made a deal with her that she could keep 1/2 of any scholarship money she earned. That would have amounted to about $14,000/year, or over $1100 per month. We decided that this was too much money to give (though we were proud of her), and in a kind of negotiation with her, lowered the amount to $500 per month. She works very hard, participating in sports and participating in the school honors research program, along with fulfilling premed shadowing and volunteer requirements. She saves most of her allowance each month so that she can travel some to visit friends when she gets some time during the summer. We are all happy with the current situation.

gasdoc

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Pajamas
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by Pajamas » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:48 pm

Not wanting her to get a job freshman year is a good idea as some adjustment is needed to transition from living at home and going to high school vs. living comparatively independently and going to college.

How much money is needed will vary depending on your daughter's current habits and experience managing money, her exact living situation, how generous and flexible the meal plan is, the culture of the school, even her major. $200-300 sounds okay as a baseline and rather than worry about the exact amount, discuss it on a regular basis, especially during the first six months and then if anything such as her living situation changes. You can simply ask, "How are you doing with your spending money?" if she doesn't volunteer information about it.

10YearPlan
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Re: Pocket money allowance for college student

Post by 10YearPlan » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:54 pm

Interesting read, this thread. I don't know what I will do when my kids get there, but I can tell you I am *very* conflicted (internally, haven't discussed with the husband yet) on this topic. I think working, and earning your own spending money at that age, is very important. But I also recognize the tremendous disadvantage that comes from having to work a lot during college (I worked mostly FT to put myself through school, and while I am proud of it, it is not something I wish on anyone)...so I'd be inclined to seek a happy medium and perhaps encourage the kids to work as hard as possible (and as often) over the summer breaks to last throughout the year.

All that said, having access to a lot of money does not necessarily guarantee bad decisions any more than not having access to money guarantees good ones. I was dirt poor during college and still managed to find a way to fund my party habit and buy clothes I did not need. Chicken, egg I suppose.

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